Tougher doping sanctions, Indian exile on IOC agenda
Ukraine's pole vault legend Sergey Bubka attends the judo event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 2, 2012. Bubka is head of the Entourage Commission which has compiled a report into the punishment of athletes who break the rules.
Calls for more stringent punishments for doping have grown over the years, as doctors or coaches of athletes who have failed tests have simply moved on to another potential star, leaving athletes to face the rap alone.
Pole vault legend Sergey Bubka, head of the Entourage Commission set up by IOC president Jacques Rogge to look into the issue, has now put together its recommendations, a copy of which AFP has obtained.
The commission's recommendations lay out 13 instances where a member of an athlete's entourage can be held accountable.
They range from doping violations to match-fixing and also propose protecting an athlete from "any form of harassment or abuse (physical, professional, sexual, mental)".
Any member of an athlete's entourage will potentially face punishment if their athlete is found to have broken the rules, even if they were not aware he or she was doing so.
"Members of an Athlete's entourage may also be sanctioned for the acts and/or omissions of persons over whom they have influence or for whom they are responsible," the recommendation reads.
The proposals also say that "Sporting Entities should put in place mechanisms, such as educational programs, so as to allow that members of an Athlete's entourage are aware of and understand the rules applicable to them."
Nine possible punishments are put forward, including a reprimand and fine, but also "Permanent exclusion from the event/Sporting Entities (club, National Federation, sport, International Federation)" and the removal of an agent's licence.
Bubka, one of six men vying to succeed Rogge who is retiring after 12 years as IOC president, said in Moscow at the World Athletics Championships in August how important he considered bringing the entourage to account.
"They can be anyone from a coach to a doctor to a member of the family and they must not only be held accountable as they are the influence around the athlete but also educated in what is right and what is wrong," said the 49-year-old Ukrainian.
India has been out in the cold since last December when the IOC's executive board suspended the South Asian giant after Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges linked to the scandal-hit New Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, was elected secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The IOC wanted the IOA to amend its constitution so that officials facing criminal or corruption proceedings in court would be kept out of the IOA election process.
The stand-off looks set to continue for the IOA, however, as on August 25 it rejected the IOC's demand.
The IOA's general body decided to bar only those who had been convicted and not just charged.
"We have accepted all the amendments proposed by the IOC, except the charge sheet clause," senior sports official S. Reghunathan, who chaired the meeting, told reporters.
"We have modified that clause so that only those persons who have been convicted by a court for a jail term of two or more years will not be able to contest elections.
"If the jail term is for less than two years, the case will be referred to the IOA's ethics commission."
The amendment was in keeping with Indian law, which says that those facing charges are allowed to contest parliamentary elections since they are innocent until proven guilty, Reghunathan said.
The diluted version means influential sports officials such as Bhanot and Suresh Kalmadi, who is also on trial for corruption linked to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, can stand for IOA elections.
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